Boxing: Former world champs Donaire, Darchinyan set for rematch

CORPUS CHRISTI, United States (AFP) - Filipino star Nonito Donaire and Australian-based Armenian southpaw Vic Darchinyan meet Saturday in a 10-round featherweight rematch of former world champions trying to revive their careers.

Donaire stopped Darchinyan in the fifth round in 2007 at Bridgeport, Connecticut to claim the International Boxing Federation flyweight title, the Asian star's first world title and Darchinyan's first career defeat.

Six years later, Darchinyan wants to avenge the only knockout loss of his career, one that ended his 2 1/2-year flyweight reign and put himself in the world title picture after losses in two of his past four fights.

"After I beat Nonito the champions will want to fight me," Darchinyan said.

"I will stop him. I want to show the world it's not about him. It's about me. I have the skill. I have the power. I'm prepared mentally against him. I know everything he is going to do and when he comes I'm going to demolish him.

"I'm very motivated for this fight. I lost to him. I'm going to come and expose him. I'm going to show all the world I can beat him easy."

Donaire, 31-2 with 20 knockouts, tries to bounce back from his first pro defeat, a unanimous-decision loss last April to unbeaten Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux in a super bantamweight world title bout.

"The motivation is definitely back," Donaire said. "I just realised I want to box. After the loss I realised I want to be in this game as long as I can.

"I just have to recall how I became a world champion, the process and the desire, and bring all that back into my boxing style. It starts with the mental and being excited for the fight and I'm very excited for this fight."

Darchinyan, 39-5 with one draw and 28 knockouts, has gone 11-4 with a draw since losing to Donaire, who turns 31 a week after facing the 37-year-old Armenian.

"This isn't about age. it's about how confident you are with your training for the fight," Darchinyan said. "I've trained very well for this fight. I have waited a long time for this fight. It doesn't matter how old I am."

Darchinyan said he lacked patience in 2007 after winning his 10 prior fights inside the distance and was tagged with a left hook he dubbed a lucky punch that knocked him down for the first time in his career.

"I had never experienced a knockdown. I jumped up straight away," he said.

"If I take a couple seconds and recover, it would be the more smarter play. Now I'm a different fighter. I'm smarter. Now I have more experience with being knocked down.

"I want to show I have skills and power and that I can do something big."

Donaire, who underwent right shoulder surgery after losing to Rigondeaux, says "I don't need to prove anything" when it comes to backing up his earlier triumph, but says he sees little from that fight that will help him in this one.

"I don't look back at it," Donaire said. "We have grown so much in terms of style and power. It's all about who shows up Saturday. It's an older, smarter me. I'm not just looking to go in there and brawl.

"Vic is a very dangerous opponent you can't overlook. When you have the power age doesn't matter." Donaire is working with his once-estranged father Nonito Sr for this fight after becoming a father himself.

"When I had my kid I started to realise my dad was always there for me," the younger Donaire said. "It just worked out with my dad and he's helping me out. I'm glad things happened the way they did."